A Timeless Drink and the Story to Go With It

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I moved to Los Angeles nearly 40 years ago in pursuit of my dream to become a television comedy writer. One of my fondest memories is of a wonderful cocktail, served at a splendid French restaurant in Sherman Oaks called Le Serre. The provider of that drink and spark to my Hollywood aspirations was my uncle Noam.

Ben and NoamNoam was an actor and successful television director who won several Emmy’s for directing “Taxi” and “Barney Miller.” He was always famous in my eyes , but I was especially proud of the fact that he had a small, but pivotal part in the iconic film, “The Graduate.” My “famous” uncle played the gas station attendant at the end of the movie who pointed Dustin Hoffman in the right direction on his mad dash to the church to try to stop Elaine from marrying Karl. To this day I can see Ben Braddock banging with his fists on the church doors. He never would have won Elaine back were it not for Uncle Noam.

Thinking back to those hot summer months of my fledgling Hollywood career,  Noam would always order a Vermouth Cassis, which was a drink I had never heard of before he turned me on to it. Refreshing and bubbly, it never failed to hit the spot.

Now, every time I imbibe one of these simple, timeless beverages, I’m immediately brought back to those amazing dinners with my uncle, the charm of the restaurant wait staff, and the exquisite French cuisine. Uncle Noam is long since gone and my comedy writing days are in the rear-view mirror, but the Vermouth Cassis is a delightful memory I will always cherish. Give it a try the next time you are feeling a bit parched and feel free to create your own indelible moment.

Drink Photos by Karyn L. Giss

Vermouth Cassis


  • 3 oz dry vermouth
  • 3/4 oz crème de cassis
  • 3 oz club soda (or enough to fill glass)
  • Blackberries and mint to garnish


  • In a glass filled with ice, pour crème de cassis
  • Then pour in dry vermouth
  • Top off glass with club soda
  • Stir
  • Garnish with blackberries and a sprig of mint
  • L’Chaim! (Makes one drink)

David Pitlik is a corporate writer by day, a comedy writer from a previous life, and a lover of great food, wonderful drink and sparkling banter with good friends. 


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